Saturday, January 30, 2010

Recipe for Creole-Seasoned and Pan-Fried Pork Cutlets with Tomato and Red Bell Pepper Salsa

Creole-Seasoned and Pan-Fried Pork Cutlets with Tomato and Red Bell Pepper Salsa
There are lots of you out there counting down to the Superbowl, and I might impress the Saints fans by saying I planned these Creole-seasoned pork cutlets in honor of the big game, but that would be a lie. This recipe actually came about because I had pork loin chops and red bell peppers hanging out in the fridge and a few wayward cherry tomatoes on the counter. Rubbing the chops with a Creole-seasoned mix before I pounded them into cutlets was just an experiment that worked, and luckily I had the sense to take some photos while I made this, because it turned out to be a keeper.

Even though I didn't plan this recipe to honor the New Orleans Saints, I am excited they're in the Superbowl, or at least as excited as someone can be who doesn't care a bit about football. I've been lucky enough to visit to New Orleans many times, and it's definitely one of the most interesting food cities in the U.S. If you haven't tried dishes like Shrimp Etouffee, Muffuletta Sandwiches, Andouille Sausages, Beignets, or Red Beans and Rice, I recommend jumping on a plane and going to New Orleans immediately. Then make these pork cutlets as soon as you get back.

Thin pork cutlets only need a few minutes to cook, so I made the salsa first to let the flavors blend for a few minutes. Start by finely chopping red bell pepper and thinly slicing green onions.

I also used a generous amount of diced cherry tomatoes and about 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro.

Stir those ingredients together with some freshly-squeezed lime juice and couple of pinches of salt and let it sit while you prep and cook the pork chops.

I seasoned the pork with a mix of Tony Chachere's Spice N' Herbs Seasoning, a product I've been using ever since a teacher from Louisiana told me about it. (I think this blend is a slightly less spicy variation of Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning; does anyone know if that's correct?) You can use any brand of Creole seasoning that you like, or make your own Creole Seasoning Blend. The Tony Chachere's Seasoning does have salt, so be sure not to add any extra if you're using that.

I combined 2 tsp. Tony Chachere's Seasoning and 1 tsp. brown sugar to make a rub for the pork. (Add a little salt if you're using a Creole seasoning without salt.) Even if you usually avoid sugar, the small amount of brown sugar here will make a big difference in the flavor.

I used center cut pork loin boneless chops to make this. You don't want pork chops without any fat at all or they'll be dry, but I trim the big pieces of fat to stick to the South Beach Diet guideline of less than 10% fat.

Rub the pork on both sides with the Creole Seasoning / brown sugar mixture.

Then use a meat mallet or the hard edge of a heavy pan to pound the pork chops into cutlets about 1/4 inch thick. It's important to get them all the same thickness so they cook evenly.

Heat 1-2 tsp. olive oil over medium high heat, until the oil is hot and shimmering. Thin pork cutlets cook quickly, so it's important to get the pan hot before you add them so they have time to brown. I cooked these 3 minutes on the first side, then turned them and cooked just over 2 minutes more. Cooking time will depend partly on how thick your pan is, and for this type of pan-frying I prefer a heavy non-stick pan.

Serve pork cutlets immediately, with a generous amount of the salsa mixture spooned over the pork.

Creole-Seasoned and Pan-Fried Pork Cutlets with Tomato and Red Bell Pepper Salsa
(Makes 4 servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

4 center cut pork loin boneless chops (about 1/2 inch thick)
1-2 tsp. olive oil (amount of oil will depend on the pan)

Pork Rub Ingredients:
2 tsp. Creole Seasoning (I used Tony Chachere's Spice N' Herbs Seasoning. You can also make your own Creole Seasoning Blend.)
1 tsp. brown sugar
1-2 pinches of salt (do not add salt if the Creole Seasoning you use contains salt)

Salsa Ingredients:
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped (about 2/3 cup finely chopped peppers)
1/2 cup finely sliced green onion, white and green parts
1 cup finely diced cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro (or parsley)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
salt to taste (I used less than 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt)

Chop red bell pepper, tomatoes, and cilantro and thinly slice green onions and combine in a plastic or glass bowl. Add lime juice and salt and stir until well combined. Let salsa flavors blend while you prep and cook the pork cutlets.

In a small dish, combine Tony Chachere's Spice N' Herbs Seasoning (or other Creole Seasoning of your choice), brown sugar, and salt. (Don't add salt if the Creole Seasoning you're using already contains salt). Stir to combine.

Trim fatty edges of pork chops and discard. Rub pork chops on both sides with Creole Seasoning mixture, then use a meat mallet or the edge of a heavy pan to pound pork into cutlets 1/4 inch thick. Be sure the pork pieces are an even thickness so they will all cook in the same amount of time.

Heat olive oil in a heavy frying pan until the oil is shimmery and pan is hot, about 1 minute at medium-high heat. (I would use a pan that's not non-stick for this.) When pan and oil is hot, add pork cutlets and turn heat to medium. Cook pork pieces for 3 minutes on the first side, or until lightly browned. Turn cutlets over and cook 2-3 minutes on the second side, just until pork is barely firm and cooked through; don't overcook. (I cooked mine for 2 1/2 minutes on the second side.)

Serve hot, with a generous amount of salsa spooned over each piece of pork.

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South Beach Suggestions:
As long as you remember the guideline to choose pork chops with less than 10% fat (or trim fat if there is more than that) this is a good main dish for any phase of the South Beach Diet, or any other low-glycemic eating plan. Yes, I used brown sugar, but I think 1 tsp. of brown sugar to season four pork chops is a pretty minimal amount, and some of the rub was still left in the bowl. Eat this with something like Black Bean and Lentil Salad with Red Bell Pepper, Cumin, and Cilantro or Tomato and Garbanzo Salad for phase one. For phase 2 or 3, Spicy Rice would make a perfect side dish.

More Tasty Ideas for Pork Chops You Might Like:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Grilled Pork Chops with Soy Sauce, Cumin, Lime, and Oregano from Kalyn's Kitchen
Milk-Braised Pork Chops from Kalyn's Kitchen
Grilled Pork Chops with Lemon, Garlic, and Sage from Kalyn's Kitchen
Mom's Perfect Pork Chops from Simply Recipes
Pork Chops with Mushroom Sauce from A Fridge Full of Food
Maple Black Pepper Pork Chops from Eggs on Sunday
Rosemary Pork Chops from bell' alimento
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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  1. Kalyn, this looks fantastic! I live in southern Louisiana and use Tony's on everything (especially eggs or popcorn). The one in the picture is the original kind but they also have an extra spicy (which I like because it seems like more spice and less salt) and then they also have a salt free. There probably are a couple more varieties but I don't remember off hand. Oh, and they have a website, I've linked to it in a couple of my recipes :) Thanks for the awesome recipe, I'll be trying it for sure!

  2. This is a beautiful dish Kalyn! Such fresh flavors and vivid colors. I think you should just tell people you were hit with divine inspiration to create this when you found out the Saints were in the superbowl. i'll keep your secret :p

  3. Amazing photos Kalyn!!

    And a wonderful dish :)

  4. I think this looks delicious and I've even got some of that seasoning! Thanks for the recipe.

  5. Wow, this looks amazing. The colors are so vibrant--kudos to both your cooking and photographing skills!

  6. EEEEGADSS! I had a frozen pork loin, and this looked wonderful. Partially defrosted the loin, sliced the cutlets, let them defrost, made the rub (from Kalyn's link), FORGOT to put the brown sugar in (but some haven't been cooked yet so will rub a little on before cooking), sauteed up those babies for the child going to work and it was absolutely wonderful! he gave me a taste. Fresh, tender (the pounding was great and I have my mother's mallet), flavor.....eye happy to see this recipe today!

    It was easy and fast to prep. the only "time" thing was the cutting up of the tomatoes. If someone had been helping, it would have been super speedy (all were doing chores).

    Great recipe!!! keep it up....I always cook your items for the family....the hubby AND the teenagers!


  7. These look so wonderful! I just made the Soy and Garlic pork chop recipe from the SBD cookbook, which was good. Your recipe looks outstanding though - I'm definitely going to try it with the next batch of pork chops.

  8. What a beautiful recipe! Don't you love when experiments turn out even better than expected? I think Saints fans (and many others) will appreciate this recipe.

  9. This pork dish looks amazing! I'm not the most inspired cook - but I read and try your recipes regularly. You are definitely inspiring! I especially like how you pair up your dishes with side dishes. That helps immensely. Thanks so much. I'm still waiting for your book!! Kim L.

  10. Thank you for the nice feedback everyone. I'm glad people are liking the sound of this.

  11. Those chops look delicious.

    And I could eat that salsa on everything! Everything!

  12. Wonderful recipe! And to answer your question about the seasoning. The Spice 'N Herb is like the Original Seasoning with a blend of herbs, so the same heat with a little extra flavor. Feel free to check out all of our other seasonings (you might find a new favorite!)

  13. I felt like a food critic when I tasted the finished product of this beautiful recipe. The first bite was sweet and the sweetness of the pork came through. I thought, "Oh no, too sweet." Then the spices kicked in just like on television. Outstanding dish.

    The tomato and garbanzo salad was just the right side dish.

  14. CJ, I agree, it could go with a lot of things!

    Thanks to the person from Tony Chachere's for clarifying about the Spices N' Herbs Seasoning. Love your products.

    Cherri, thanks so much. So happy you liked it.

  15. Kalyn, this is a great recipe and so easy to prepare. The colors here are gorgeous......who wouldn't want to eat it?? Cheers!

  16. What a colourful way to brighten up some pork cutlets!

  17. Fantastic AGAIN! I've found so many wonderful recipes on your site, thank you for sharing!

  18. Yum...that salsa is delicious!!!! I only had some 1/2 inch bone in pork chops on hand so I couldn't pound them so I just cooked them longer. Great flavor in the seasoning and the salsa is perfect on this!! My daughter ate hers all up and wanted more which is very unlike her unless she REALLY likes something!

    (Michelle, I tried to publish this from my iPhone and accidentally hit delete instead of publish, so I just had to copy the comment to post it. Sorry!)

  19. I'm always look for creative pork dishes. This really looks delicious. Pinned.


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